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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  February 20, 2016 6:30pm-7:00pm EST

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night, high stakes. a big night in politics. the results on a critical test for the democrats in nevada. a republican showdown in south carolina. some on this night fighting for survival. final farewell. the large outpouring and powerful tribute at the funeral of suprem court justice antonin scalia. thousands of students at public universities worried about hirtheir futures. caught in the middle of politics. you want olympic gold. "nightly news" begins right now. >> decision 2016, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening. it's great to be with you on saturday voting day in two key presidential contests. let's get to the democratic caucuses where nbc news
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clinton will defeat bernie sanders. clinton able to hold back sanders' charge that followed his win in new hampshire and complicating his path to the nomination tonight. the polls will close in less than half an hour in south carolina's republican primary where in recent days ted cruz has been closing ground with donald trump. we will go there in a moment. our team is in place to cover it all. we want to get to the big story though out of nevada. nbc's chriskristin welker is in nevada. >> reporter: secretary clinton just finishing up her victory speech. her supporters chanting hillary, hillary throughout the evening. there was a lot of concern amongst her supporters she would lose this state. victory. it will give her big momentum momentum. hillary clinton again relief tonight. outperforming senator sanders in the
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>> thank you. thank you so much. >> reporter: making a left minute push for service industry union workers, more than 50% latino. senator sanders stopping by mgm grand. secretary clinton andh at harrah's. >> why bernie sand sneakers. >> i love the things he is saying. >> reporter: why are you supporting hillary? >> she has experience. >> reporter: nevada is a key part of clinton's fire wall to show she's not electable than sander sanders. after getting a six-month jump on sanders and pouring millions into ads. >> i spend any life fighting for children, families and our country. >> reporter: clinton's once double digit lead e evaporated. clinton has been dogged by questions about her e-mails and paid wall street speeches. the rhetoric growing heated.
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msnbc town hall. >> i just don't know where all this comes from. maybe it's that sanders wasn't really a democrat until he decided to run for president. >> reporter: sanders accusing clinton of playing politics. support from the african-american community with a president who is popular. >> reporter: nevada pivotal, setting the trajectory for the race. >> it looks like america, about a population is hispanic, large african-american and asian population. it's more like the rest of american than iowa and new hampshire. >> reporter: second clinton just wrapping up a speech to her supporters. here is a little of what she had to say. >> some may have doubted us. but we never doubted each other.
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you. >> reporter: now clinton is moving on. tonight she has texas for a campaign event and then she will spend two days fund-raising in california trying to match the millions that senator sanders has raised online. >> kristin welker, tonight. the outcome in nevada will set the stage for clinton and sanders. andrea mitchell joins us. >> bernie sanders put out an e-mail trying to raise money to off of what he says is a close finish. the bottom line is he needed this. she needed it more. this was her firewall. after a tie in iowa and a defeat in new hampshire, she ho h to win big. to prove that she could win here in the more diverse state, she stopped his momentum for now. she goes on to south carolina where she has the advantage. the congressman is very important endorsement that came yesterday. she will go to texas tonight. that's super tuesday.
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prove that bernie sanders cannot expand the map. he can't win in important diverse states. >> andrew andrea mitchell, thank you. we are awaiting the polls to close in sk where the republican primary is being held. donald trump hoping to hoho back a late charge by ted cruz. hallie jackson is following the race there. >> reporter: lester, the cruz pain is downplaying the potential for an upselt victory. cruz should finish strong. he and marco rubio in a fight for second. donald trump is expected to win. by how much? the state party tells us tonight, some pre precincts broke records by midafternoon. in 12 hours of voting, countless last minute decisions. >> i decided at about 9:00 this morning. and i have been watching coverage
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>> yesterday. >> reporter: at stake in south carolina, who moves on and who drops out. the field smaller than it used to be but still bigger than it usually is. >> once you get this race down to two, you will have a clearer more traditional campaign. >> reporter: marco rubio just one of the candidates with tonight. establishment voters and can beat his bush. near death. >> it's a long haul process. >> reporter: it's donald trump who has been dominating. >> i don't want your money. we want your vote. >> reporter: today on offense online, attacking his rivals. like ted cruz who has to show he can contend in the south. that's key to his strategy moving forward. tonight, returning to the state after attending justice scalia's funeral in washington. >> we have an election in a few months. the american people should be able to choose the direction of this. >> reporter: south carolina has picked almost every republican nominee
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a good track record. today, record turnout expected as a nasty race comes to a close. allegations of dirty tricks in every corner. robo calls. >> let's take our country back now. >> reporter: rumors. no surprise. >> it never looks good. you need to be classy and polite. that's not politics. >> reporter: not in this primary. the first in the south a fight to the finish. >> most conventional wisdom believes that donald trump will be the winner tonight. the real contest is ted cruz's organization can beat marco rubio in the south. >> reporter: an aid to ben carson's campaign acknowledges they will probably finish in the bottom three tonight. insists they will fight on to nevada next week and then beyond. john kasich isn't in south carolina. he is in new england looking ahead to super tuesday battles in the northeast and midwest. >> hallie jackson,
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let's bring in the moderate irofor of "meet the press" chuck todd. what do you see, chuck? >> let's start with nevada. show you how clinton pulled this off. when you look at it. let me show you among age. once again, we see the divide. younger voters going for sanders. older voters going for clinton. but she did better, believe it or not, among younger voters than previous ones. then there was the white to non-white split. a more diverse state. just over 40% of of the vote is non-white. among the non-white vote, that is where clinton had an advantage. she had a big advantage among african-americans. there's a question in the poll about hispanics. that's why we are careful there. wasn't to highlight one big number, because this is the establishment striking back on behalf of clinton. it's labor unions. clinton beat sanders by ten points among union households. that is everything you need to know about the
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showed there with chriskristin welker. let's shift to south carolina. polls will close there very soon. i just want to show you the makeup of the state. as you can see, it's somewhat conservative that outnumber the very conservative. why is that important? you see that that means that the electorate is a little more broad-based. it's more conservative than it was in new hampshire. slightly less conservative than in iowa. it's not a trump blowout. it's not going to look like new hampshire. nor is it going to be a cruz victory, because it doesn't look like iowa. i can tell you ideologically, this looks like it will be a closer race just looking at that makeup of what south carolina looks like tonight. >> chuck, there are multiple acts to this place. the republicans will hold their caucuses in nevada this tuesday. the democrats will hold their primary in south carolina one week from today. as the political battle over his successor heats up, a funeral was held today for justice antonin scalia who died one
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several thousand people attended the service in washington. we get more from our justice correspondent pete williams. >> reporter: justice scalia wanted a simple funeral in a parish church. as it turned out, more than 3,000 came to the massive basilica of the national shrine of theic mac lat conception. it was celebrated by his son paul, a catholic priest part of the large scalia family. >> he is the father that god gave us for the great adventure of family life. sure, he forgot our mes at times or mixed them up. but there are nine of us. >> reporter: like scalia himself, the service was deeply spiritual but marked with humor such as the story of a time justice scalia got a surprise going for a con confession.
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my confessional line. and he quickly departed it. as he put it later, like heck if i'm confessing to you. >> reporter: his fellow conservative and fellow catholic justice clarence thomas read from scripture. >> god proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners christ died for us. >> reporter: among the mourners, vice president joe biden representing the white house and ted cruz a former supreme court law clerk who criticized president obama for not attending. the president and first lady paid their respects friday as justice scalia lay in repose. the other seven of the court's remaining justices were here today as were two retired justices, john paul stevens and suitor. as for a successor, the white house made a
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president bema walkobama walking with material. this was a day remembering the man devoted to his faith and family and the law. pete williams, nbc news, washington. in the south pacific, fiji was battered by a cyclone causing extensive damage. kelly kobiella has the story. >> reporter: the cyclone crashed in with deafening winds. torrential rain and gusts of 186 miles and hour, lifting roofs like pieces of paper. leaving tourists and locals terrified for hours. >> i didn't know if i would survive. this cyclone was terrible. ter ter it was terrifying everyone. how you can sleep? >> reporter: the spanish rugby team in
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the monster storm is one of the strongest ever recorded in the southern hemisphere. a category 5 cyclone. >> it's so massive that it is the first ever category 5 to hit fiji fiji. >> reporter: there are reports of homes flattened. people are clearing away the worst of the wrath. the government has declared a month-long state of emergency to assess the damage. kelly kobiella, nbc news. there's more ahead as we continue on this saturday night. thousands of college students on edge as a budget battle threatens funding for their schools. a big night for the u.s. women's soccer team. fighting for a spot in the summer our next item is a genuine "name your price" tool. this highly sought-after device from progressive can be yours for... twenty grand? -no! we are giving it away for just 3 easy payments of $4.99 plus tax! the lines are blowing up! we've got deborah from poughkeepsie. flo: yeah, no, it's flo. you guys realize anyone can use the "name your price" tool for free on, right?
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and when you're ready to travel, just book the flight you want, on any airline, then use your miles to cover the cost. now you're getting somewhere. what's in your wallet? in the middle of the semester, thousands of college students in illinois have an added worry tonight. whether they will make it through the school year and beyond. that's because the public university system in the state is caught up in a budget crisis that has gone on for eight months. blake mccoy has our report from chicago. >> reporter: charles preston is a senior in african-american studies. he is a crash course in politics. >> i feel like my government failed me. >> reporter: he and his classmates are in limbo, caught in the middle of a state budget battle unsure if they will graduate. chicago state gets 30% of its funding from the state. this year, hasn't received a dime. neither have the
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public universities. >> this is a tremendous distraction. it's a level of irresponsibility that have i not i have not seen. >> it's harmful. to me and my future and this to this community. i'm not the only one in this fight. i'm fighting for the future of others as well. >> reporter: he led heated demonstrations from chicago to the state house in springfield. >> we want to graduate. >> reporter: where the government is deadlocked. a new republican governor who wants to cut spending and weaken unions. on the other, a democratically controlled legislature wanting to raise taxes. the result, illinois has gone without a budget for eight months. would you call this a crisis for illinois? >> it's beyond a crisis. yes. the state has been damaged. i hope not irreparably. but damage that's going to last for many years by this political dysfunction. >> everyone is
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it's not just the students. >> reporter: back at chicago state, this woman is set to graduate this december. >> i have worked so hard. >> reporter: you are so close to graduating. >> i'm so close to graduating. i just can't afford to start over. >> reporter: a cloud of uncertainty over a state of dysfunction. blake mccoy, nbc news, chicago. up next here tonight, celebrating the life of an olympic trail blazer. we will look at the new film about jesse owens. jake reese, "day to feel alive" jake reese, "day to feel alive"
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the scene last night in houston. the u.s. women's soccer team playing against trinidad and toe bay co-in a qualifying tournament for the olympics. it wasn't much of a contest. they secured a place in the games with a 5-0 victory. the u.s. will be going for its fourth straight olympic gold medal. it was a another summer olympics eight decade ago when a young american caused a sensation that reverberates to this day. not only did jesse owens win four gold medals, but in doing sew made a powerful statement about race. this weekend, a new film opens about the life and types of jessimes of jesse owens. >> the fastest human
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>> reporter: this summer marks 80 years since jesse owens dominated the olympics. the focus of a new beyobe biopick called race. >> you want to win a gold medal? >> sure. >> reporter: his four gold medals stunned hitler. >> the competition was grand. i was very glad to come out on top. >> reporter: while his record breaking performance made headlines and him a household name in america, to many, owens was the wrong color. >> your friends will have to use the service entrance. >> reporter: the actor who plays him says the movie is much more than black and white. what do you want people to get out of this? >> look at him and say, if co-he could do what he did at a time and place where did he it, there's no excuse me are for me to not be great. >> reporter: it highlights the athletic prowess of
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grace against racial injustice and his commitment as a family man. something his daughters say was important to them. >> it had to make it about the true story about my father. and all of the things that he went through after the olympics and how he survived them. >> the expectation was that we would finish school, go to college. not go to college, go to ohio state. >> reporter: before clay rose to prominence at muhammad ali or jackie robinson, there was jesse owens. >> ain't no black and white. there's fast and slow. >> reporter: blazing a trail for others who followed in his tracks. >> owens! >> reporter: in the race to greatness. ron mott, nbc news, new york. up next, meet spem something today that
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finally tonight, as we have seen this presidential campaign has energized some voters looking for alternatives to candidates they consider mainstream. they include voters who had pretty much dropped out. >> reporter: today, 51-year-old lori bins did something she hasn't done in a long time. she voted.
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voting booth for one reason, donald trump. >> i felt good. i felt like i was voting for somebody that might do what they say they are going to do. or try to. >> reporter: according to a survey, one in ten voters who went to the polls in south carolina today is a so-called lost voter. apathetic americans who had given up on the process until now. who was the last president you. >> reggie: voteing for? >> ronald reagan. >> reporter: that was 36 years ago when 64-year-old charles parish was a firefighter. parish says he is now back, involved in politics because of donald trump. . >> the man is a billionaire. what is it for him to gain? more power perhaps. maybe. the man is powerful. to me, he is more apt to do the right thing for the country. >> reporter: surveys show 27% of the lost
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trump. while rubio draws 4% and cruz even less. experts say because voters are drawn to trump's outsider status. >> because of the nature of of this campaign, because of the nature of his appeal, most of the lost voters are coming back in, will vote for donald trump. >> reporter: the trump affect among lost voters may explain what could be a record turnout today. a wild card yet to be fully calculated. kerry sanders, nbc news, columbia, south carolina. that's that will do it for us on this saturday night. we will have coverage of the south carolina primary tonight on this nbc station. msnbc and i'm lester hold. for all of us as nbc
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decision 2016. here is lester holt. >> good evening, everyone. we are watching, of course, two major votes in race for the white house tonight. south carolina gop primary. the polls have closed in south carolina. right now, it is too close to call. we can tell you it's a three-way race. appears to be a three-way race among trump, cruz and rubio. the other candidates are well behind. too close to call in the south carolina gop primary. also today, the democratic caucus in nevada. nbc news projects hillary clinton will win. hillary clinton holding back a charge by bernie sanders who came out of new hampshire with a lot of momentum. again, it looks like hillary clinton will carry the day. let's bring on moderator of "meet the press" chuck todd right now. walk us through what we have seen in nevada and this tight race in south carolina. >> i think we got the news out of nevada. this will be known as


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